Daily World News Digest, 22 February 2016

The woman trying to find all the world’s missing people

The daily digital magazine, Ozymandias, published an interview today with ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. The interview describes the ICMP-led effort that made it possible to identify more than 70 percent of those who went missing as a result of the conflict in former Yugoslavia, an achievement characterized by Jeremy Sarkin, the former chair of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, as “particularly phenomenal”. Bomberger also discusses an initiative through which ICMP and the International Organization for Migration are seeking to address the issue of thousands of migrants who are going missing on the dangerous route across the Mediterranean to Europe.  http://bit.ly/1XHpXkx

Colombia’s search for the disappeared unearths 28,000 bodies

Telesur news portal reported on 21 February that after three years of searching, Colombian forensic scientists have found over 28,000 unidentified bodies buried across the country, and the search is far from over. The search is part of a government initiative to locate disappeared persons after tens of thousands have gone missing, or been forcibly disappeared, in the over 50-year internal conflict in the country. Those bodies that have been found will now go through a rigorous forensic testing period to establish the cause of death and their identities, according to Director of Human Rights of the Interior Ministry, Maria Paulina Riveros.  http://bit.ly/1KD2Buu

Egypt center for torture victims challenges order to close

The BBC reported today that an Egyptian center that helps alleged torture victims and documents their cases has vowed to continue to work despite an order for it to shut down. Officials had given the Nadeem Centre until Monday to cease activities, saying it had breached regulations. The group has filed an urgent appeal against the decision. Aida Seif al-Dawla, the group’s director, said the move to close it was political. Human rights groups have criticized the measure, saying it comes at a time when enforced disappearances are on the rise and amid growing concern about allegations of torture by the police and intelligence services. http://bbc.in/1oCXK2K

Independent Ayotzinapa experts demand heroin trafficking probe

Telesur news portal carried a story on 21 February saying that independent experts claim that investigating the involvement of a fifth bus in the disappearances of the 43 students is key to the Ayotzinapa case. Human rights experts called on Mexican authorities to investigate the links between what happened to the students and an alleged heroin trafficking route between the site of the disappearances in the state of Guerrero and Chicago. The group argued that the investigation must turn to an unaccounted for bus allegedly involved in the case that is suspected of having been loaded with drugs to be transported to Chicago. http://bit.ly/1oCYkxu

Balochistan: Human rights activists and lawyers should visit war torn regions

Balochwarna News reported on 21 February that the chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Nasrullah Baloch, has appealed NGOs to form an impartial committee comprising of political and human rights activists and lawyers to visit Balochistan’s affected areas and compile a fact finding report. Mr Baloch made this appeal after a delegation from Bolan District in Balochistan called on him to raise the issue of military attacks and abduction of innocent civilians including women and children. The delegation informed the organization’s representatives that Pakistani forces have targeted unarmed civilians and abducted women and children during their offensives in Bolan and surrounding areas. http://bit.ly/1oCXbG7

Ethiopia: Killings, detention and arbitrary arrest of protesters enter fourth month

Human Rights Watch issued a news on 21 February saying that Ethiopian security forces are violently suppressing the largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region that began in November 2015. Available information suggests that several thousand people have been arrested, many of whose whereabouts are unknown, which would be a forcible disappearance. Activists allege that more than 200 people have been killed since 12 November. Witnesses say that security forces have shot randomly into crowds, summarily killed people during arrests, carried out mass roundups, and tortured detainees. http://bit.ly/1XH5wEi

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.